Best outdoor drinking games for backyard parties and summer barbecues
Summer barbecues are even more fun.
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Look, croquet and badminton are for the fancy white boys named Chauncy who wear socks and sandals at the beach. Beer pong is for the unimaginative frat brothers. Cornhole, while still a perfectly enjoyable game, don’t get me wrong, has gotten a little … boring. The best part of summer grilling, besides the big pile of meat, should be the outdoor games.
Fortunately, society has developed some interesting hobbies to occupy your non-drinking hand once you’ve finished stuffing your esophagus. There’s something for every style of barbecue: the mega bash in the backyard, the subdued patio barbecue and even the “oh shit it’s raining and now we have to cook.” 70 hot dogs inside my garage “shindig. No athleticism required.
Giant Beer Pong
While i was playing beer pong post-25 can be a bit left, playing giant beer pong is a bit more acceptable, and avoids saying the word “left” out loud. That’s the Giant Jenga rule, right? While Jenga is for children, Giant Jenga is a top-notch adult outdoor activity and perfectly acceptable for your non-beer drinking hand. For mega beer pong, all you need is a bunch of trash cans, a volleyball / soccer ball, and enough beer to fill each of those bins to the brim. Just kidding on that last part. But hey, it’s your money.
High Noon is inspired by the tumbleweed-laden duels of Old West fame. But it features six packs instead of six shooters and has little to no chance of bloodshed. This is a two player game where you and your opponent stand back to back, take 10 steps, turn around, drink your beer, mash it and throw it at each other. The first to contact wins. Oh wait, there might actually be some blood spilled. And this one is certainly not safe for barbecues with children.
If you fish to work your game while having glasses of beer (and really, why wouldn’t you?) Beer pong golf is the hybrid activity of your wildest dreams. Basically it’s beer pong, with golf clubs. You have two cornhole style planks, placed on a slope, with cups placed inside the faux grass surface. Your duty is to dig 10 individual holes before your competitor (mulching mat included). The only downside: this one requires a slight golf experience. If you don’t know how to grind properly, you might not have fun with this one. Sorry, Tiger.
Kubb is Sweden’s second best import (No.1 is ABBA, obviously), and is essentially a game of throwing big wooden blocks on other large wooden stakes, in an attempt to knock the said blocks off their feet. Think of it this way: if the horseshoes, bowling and those hand-carved craft toys that crunchy granola parents buy for their children had a misshapen Swedish baby, it would look like Kubb. It’s fun, though … despite sounding like an IKEA table. But, it is best to play on sand or loose ground. It would therefore be better to keep it for barbecues by the beach. Gloriously simple for kids, an extreme calf contorting feat for adults, the concept here is pretty straightforward: place a paper bag in the center of a circle of people. Each person should balance on one leg, bend over and lift the bag with their mouth. If you fall, you are outside. With each turn you cut off an inch from the bag, making it difficult for even the most ardent yogi to bear. It’s good clean fun. Except for the grass stains. It’s an essential episode of distraction for barbecues filled with obnoxious kids who need something to occupy their time. They will love it. It’s like 10,000 restless spinning mills with Pokémon on them.
Strain aka Hammerschlagen
Stump is a popular game both in the American Midwest … and in Germany (if you couldn’t say that “Hammerschlagen” is a decidedly German name). For this you need a hammer, nails and … a stump. If you really want to play, you will need a detailed description of the rules (find a good explanation, here) but essentially the game is to flip your hammer 360 degrees and then hammer a nail into the stump, all in a smooth one-handed motion. Does it sound difficult? It is! But once you get the hang of it, you can start incorporating tips. Which is also part of the game. Despite the semi-steep learning curve, this is probably one of the most fun, rewarding, and entertaining games on this list. Just be super careful. You throw a hammer around, of course.
By default, you should inherently be in any game that requires throwing rubber chicken at a target. And this summer’s potential lawn phenomenon, Flickin ‘Chicken, gives you the chance to do just that: you throw hilarious, flexible rubber chickens at a target. It’s cornhole, poultry style (Gonzo would certainly approve). And the best part is to go thug and make your own games with the chickens. They are ridiculously fun to throw and the options are endless. Chicken Flickin ‘ Beer pong, nobody? It’s a little messy … but the chickens don’t care. They are made of plastic.
Floating beer pong
If you have a pool in your backyard (or apartment complex) your barbecue is probably already level, so why not step up your beer pong game as well? GoPong is essentially a large floating pool raft fitted with a built-in cooler and holes for the plastic cups arranged in the traditional beer pong formation. Of course, you’ll need to change your game up a bit if you’re using rebounds in your strategy, but that will help you aim better. If beer pong isn’t your thing, it also works as a great beverage tray in the pool, provided you want to float with 20+ cups of quick-heating beer. For an even more intense game, try bringing it into the ocean at high tide.